Celebrating 25 years of a symbiotic relationship, India and Israel are seeking new milestones of cooperation and progress in fields as diverse as bilateral trade and Bollywood.
To coincide with the ongoing visit of the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, India and Israel have signed nine cooperation agreements in cyber security, film co-production, space and solar energy, besides oil and gas sectors. The Israeli Prime Minister, on a visit to Delhi, Gujarat, and Mumbai, (January 14-January 19, 2018) is accompanied by a 130-member business delegation and Moshe, an Israeli survivor of the 26/11 terror attacks in Mumbai.
Daniel Carmon- Israel’s ambassador to India“India is a vast country and Israel is a tiny country but together we are doing big things in science, technology, commerce, cyber, agriculture, energy, water, and also in security,” Netanyahu said on arrival into India.
Speaking with the media last week, Ambassador of Israel Daniel Carmon stated that Israel and India maintained an “all-weather friendship” and discussion on a bilateral Free Trade Agreement was under way.
“Since the visit of the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Israel last summer, there has been a substantial increase in commercial ties and business ventures between Indian and Israeli companies,” he said.
Israel, with the largest number of start-ups per capita worldwide, and India, a top innovation destination in Asia, have together set up an innovation incubator in Jerusalem. In a unique tie-up, OurCrowd, an Israeli equity crowdfunding platform, Indian multinationals Reliance Industries, Motorola Solutions, and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem have come together to support the growth of start-ups in Jerusalem and encourage business cooperation between Israeli and Indian start-ups, venture capitalists and tech companies.
Similarly, the ‘India-Israel Innovation Bridge’ is an online platform to facilitate bilateral collaboration between Israeli and Indian start-ups, tech hubs, corporations and other key innovation ecosystem players in various innovative projects related to water, agriculture, and digital health.
Strategic partnerships between India and Israel have been signed in the field of agriculture too. In the last one decade, the Indian government and MASHAV, Israel’s agency for International development cooperation have opened 20 centres across nine Indian states, wherein Israeli experts have trained thousands of Indian farmers in innovative agricultural methods, such as drip irrigation, which have helped to improve crop diversity and crop production across the country. In December 2017, the first agro-technology development centre, to focus on floriculture, was inaugurated in Tamil Nadu. Seven additional centres are expected to be opened soon, bringing the total number of centres in India to 27.
Israel, a world leader in water technology, after overcoming extreme water crisis since its founding, has also signed two major water agreements with India to increase cooperation in water conservation and state water utility reform. Under these agreements, Israeli technology will be used to clean and purify the Ganges River, a vital water resource for more than one billion Indian people. Although trade and cooperation pacts have blossomed since India and Israel established diplomatic ties in 1992, the relationship between these two countries goes deeper. Historically, Jews were one of the first foreign groups in recorded history to arrive and settle in India. Today, Jews are an integral part of Indian society and the Jewish community numbers close to 7,000 while Israel is home to 85,000 Jews of Indian origin.
This relationship is actually symbiotic as India offers a huge ready market for Israeli technology and innovations. Both countries are determined to push up the quality of life and India-Israel bilateral trade that today stands at less than USD 5 billion.
Source:-Free Press Journal
Indian economy is set to double to USD 5 trillion in the next 7-8 years as booming consumption of digital services would support the addition of about USD 2.5 trillion to the country’s wealth, Paytm founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma said today. “It took 70 years for India to become USD 2.5 trillion economy, and now the same amount of growth will take just next 7 years,” Sharma said while addressing Internet and Mobile Association of India’s (IAMAI) 12th (rpt) 12th India Digital Summit. Sharma added that the time was ripe for entrepreneurs to create products in India for the local market. “This is the time for Indian entrepreneurs to build something for India, from India, something that is a world-class model,” he said. Sharma, whose company is backed by global investment giants like Alibaba and SoftBank, said spending capacity of consumers in tier II cities and beyond is often “underestimated”.
Lauding the accomplishments of Flipkart founders Sachin and Binny Bansal, he said the duo had “changed the country’s ecosystem”. Sharma reminisced his struggle in early days while building Paytm, and said the company has now grown to 255 million transactions last month and will achieve USD 14 billion gross merchandise value (GMV) run rate at the end of the fiscal.
Source:- Financial Express
Indian prime minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the UAE next month will be focused on speeding up investment in India's infrastructure, increasing trade and improving energy and security ties.
Mr Modi's visit has yet to be confirmed by India, but UAE officials have said he will address the World Government Summit being held in Dubai from February 11-13, where India is the guest of honour this year.
The prime minister's visit will be part of a regional tour that includes Oman and Palestine, Indian officials told The National. He is expected to be in the UAE on February 11 and 12 and visit Abu Dhabi and Dubai, although details of his itinerary are still being worked out.
Rajeev Sharma, a commentator on global strategic affairs, said the top item on Mr Modi's agenda would be to follow up on the UAE's pledge to invest US$75 billion (Dh275bn) in India, which was made two-and-a-half years ago during the prime minister's last visit to Abu Dhabi. Although one deal worth $1bn was announced late last year, it is not clear whether the amount has been transferred to India.
“Nothing concrete has been achieved on this front yet. The Modi government needs this fund at the soonest possible for its own domestic political reasons. With elections due in 2019, if the $75bn UAE investment were to materialise quickly, it would demonstrate to the electorate the Hindu nationalist government’s credibility in the international community, particularly as it would be coming from a Muslim nation like the UAE,” Mr Sharma said.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, has made two state visits to India during Mr Modi's tenure, including in January last year when he was chief guest at Republic Day celebrations in New Delhi.
Mr Modi and Sheikh Mohammed have established a personal rapport and share a vision for a huge jump in economic co-operation, but their countries' failure to achieve this is a result of several factors, said Prasad Nallapati, president of the Centre for Asia-Africa Policy Research.
"The Middle East has been in turmoil, particularly since Donald Trump took over as president of the United States in January last year," Mr Nallapati said. "Iran’s growing arc of influence from Iraq to Lebanon has been a major headache for Saudi Arabia and the UAE. The two countries formed a military alliance to fight the Iran-backed Houthi rebel group in Yemen. Qatar became a new enemy, effectively demolishing the Gulf Cooperation Council. The US decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move its embassy there from Tel Aviv created further complications in the region.”
India has had its own downsides, he said. The Modi government's economic reforms such as demonetisation — the sudden withdrawal of large denomination banknotes from circulation in December 2016 — and introduction of a nationwide goods and services tax have slowed down India's $2.4 trillion economy.
However, recent developments have improved the country's outlook.
“The Indian economy is estimated by the International Monetary Fund to grow at 7.5 per cent this year. Moody’s has upgraded India’s rating to Baa2, the country’s first upgrade since 2004. Prime minister Modi’s visit to the UAE is, therefore, very timely as he will be able to project India’s positive momentum toward higher economic performance this year and in the years ahead," Mr Nallapati said.
Together with recent state election victories demonstrating Mr Modi's political dominance, "this must convince the UAE to plunge into greater economic co-operation with India and begin its much promised investments in the country,” he said.
During Sheikh Mohammed’s New Delhi visit last year, the UAE and India pledged to expand bilateral trade by 60 per cent over five years.
The two leaders also reviewed progress toward realising the $75bn target for UAE investment in India’s infrastructure development.
In October, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (Adia) signed an agreement with India’s National Investment and Infrastructure Fund to invest $1bn in India.
India and the UAE are among each other’s top trading partners, with annual bilateral trade of around $50bn in 2015 and 2016. The UAE is one of biggest sources of foreign direct investment in India and contributes significantly to its energy security. It was the fifth-largest supplier of crude oil to India in 2015 and 2016. The latest industry estimates project an increase in bilateral trade that outstrips the official target, with direct and indirect trade touching $100bn by 2020.
Indians also make up the UAE's largest expatriate community, with an estimated 2.6 million citizens in the country.
More than 50,000 Indians turned up to hear Mr Modi speak at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium in August 2015, but it is not yet clear whether such an event is planned during his upcoming visit.
India will overtake China to be the fastest growing large economy in 2018 and the country's when the rest of the world offers low growth and insufficient structural change, India, by contrast, is seen as a reforming economy with the prospect of strong long-term growth will become the fifth largest in the world, says a report.
According to a Sanctum Wealth Management report, when the rest of the world offers low growth and insufficient structural change, India, by contrast, is seen as a reforming economy with the prospect of strong long-term growth.
"India will become the fastest growing large economy in the world, eclipsing China. Indian equity market will jump to become the fifth largest in the world," the report noted.
At a time when developed economies are cheering 2-3 per cent growth, India is focused on breaching 7.5 per cent, it said.
Moreover, India also benefits from a favourable contrast to other emerging markets. In particular, the fact that China is downshifting to a slower pace of growth.
"Prospective returns for equities are much higher than the 6-8 per cent that one can expect from fixed income," it noted.
However, if inflation or rates rise, markets are not likely to register further gains. Muted earning could also impact market performance.
"Considering the fact that Nifty50 is in a broader uptrend, a sustained move beyond the 10,490-10,580 levels could lead to a rally towards 11,200-11,500 levels in the medium term," it noted.
As per the report, a major factor that has changed is that the domestic buyer now sets market prices. Domestic mutual funds bought equities worth USD 15.3 billion against USD 8 billion by foreign investors in 2017.
The report that identifies various big-picture trends at play this year in the domestic and global economy, noted that Aadhaar, Jan Dhan, Demonetisation, GST, are working to create a new inclusive infrastructure in India.
"Given the rapid pace at which the Indian economy is developing, investors today are faced with the need to make crucial investment decisions amidst multiple cross currents, using a complex array of choices," Sanctum Wealth Management Chief Executive Officer Shiv Gupta said.
NEW DELHI/BERN: Negotiations on a bilateral investment protection pact will figure prominently during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's meeting with Switzerland's President Alain Berset in Davos next week, the Swiss government has said.
The two leaders will also discuss, among other trade and business matter, the envisaged free trade agreement between India and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), of which Switzerland is a member.
The Swiss government statement on topics for the meeting of the two leaders did not mention black money, an issue which has been central to most of the high-level deliberations between the two countries.
India has framed a model Bilateral Investment Protection Agreement (BIPA) and is now negotiating it with several countries. Besides, the talks have been going on for a long time for a free trade agreement between India and the four-member EFTA (Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein).
The trade pact talks had started in October 2008 and several rounds of negotiations have taken place since then.
The proposed agreement covers trade in goods and services, investments, trade facilitation, customs cooperation, protection of intellectual property and public procurement.
The two-way trade between the regions dropped to USD 19 billion in 2016-17, from USD 21.5 billion in 2015-16. The trade gap is highly in favour of the EFTA group.
Under an FTA, trading partners give market access to each other with a view to promoting bilateral trade in goods and services, besides investments.
"Topics on the agenda of the working meeting (of President Berset) with Indian Prime Minister Modi on Monday include business and trade matters, particularly the ongoing negotiations on a BIPA and the envisaged free trade agreement between the EFTA and India," the Swiss government said.
Federal Councillor Johann Schneider-Ammann, also the head of the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research, will also be attending the talks with the Indian prime minister, the Swiss government statement added.
PM Modi, accompanied by six union ministers, will be in Davos on January 22-23 to attend the World Economic Forum's Annual Meeting, where he will give the opening plenary. On the sidelines of the high-profile event, PM Modi will hold a number of important bilateral meetings with various world leaders.
Announcing schedule of its various leaders, the Swiss government said Berset will also meet US President Donald Trump, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, the British Prime Minister Theresa May, and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, among other leaders.
Ammann will also meet India's Trade and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu and will host the traditional informal WTO ministerial meeting on the sidelines of the WEF summit.
The Swiss government said Ammann will focus on fostering bilateral economic relations and free trade negotiations in his various meetings.
The five Federal Council members will be attending the Davos event this year and will hold around 60 bilateral meetings on the sidelines during the five-day summit starting January 22.
At the invitation of President Berset, European ministers of culture will gather in Davos prior to the WEF summit for a conference on 'Baukultur' -- a term used for preservation and development of high-quality cultural heritage.
COMMENTSThe results of the conference will be documented in a 'Davos Declaration' on January 22 to launch the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018.
Federal Councillor Ueli Maurer, the vice president of the Federal Council and head of the Federal Department of Finance (FDF), will hold meetings with numerous counterparts and representatives from international bodies. Maurer is also expected to meet Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, among other world leaders.